Say It's Your Birthday: Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore

Remember this?

"Duh-Duh-Da Duh-Duh-Duh-Da Duh-Duh-Da

Duh-Da"

--From "Smoke On The Water"

It's Spring, and the ATN Birthday

Bureau's fancy turns to the poetry of rock 'n' roll. And how much more poetic

does it get than that immortal riff Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore

unleashed on an unsuspecting planet back in '72. Today is Ritchie's 51st

birthday but please excuse us if we don't dwell on his biography. That would

force us to utter epithets like Coverdale and Dio, something we are loath to

do. So instead we'll celebrate his signature riff, which will endure forever as

perhaps the quintessential sonic representation of emotionally stunted

hormonally tortured teenage boys. In other words, one of the great stupid rock

'n' roll riffs of all times, right up there with "Louie Louie," "Wild Thing,"

"96 Tears," "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and the rest. Now Ritchie might object to his

exalted guitar godhood being lumped in with the likes of the Kingsmen and

Question Mark and The Mysterians, but what do we care? It may be his birthday,

but it's our birthday column. Besides, being remembered for stupid riffs beats

being remembered for stupid hats, any day, eh Ritch Man? Other birthdays are

Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees, Martin Le Nobel, formerly of Porno for

Pyros, and Loretta Lynn.